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29th June 2001: Christopher Street Day

3rd December: World Day of Handicapped People

21st March 2001: International Day Against Racism

On the 21st of March all participating radio stations of Polyphonia presented special programming and at the same time took part in a international day of broadcasting, for which Radio Voix Sans Frontières, a project of Amarc, broadcast a worldwide, 24-hour programme on this International Day Against Racism.

Radio Orange 94.0 assumed the coordination for the European Channel of Radio VSF . Vienna was therefore the hub radio station for all European contributions on March 21, responsible for the broadcast and moderation of the European Programme as well as for the live transmissions to other independent radio stations in Europe. Orange 94.0 used this work ahead of time and the interest of the media in this event to provide migrants in Austria a chance at participation and to encourage them to use independent radio as a public platform for their own interests. Before and on the 21st of March a close working relationship between the independent radio stations and organisations of migrants in Austria did actually come about, resulting in new contacts. These will probably be of use in the future. On that day of special broadcasting three new programmes came into being at Orange 94.9 and they have been on air since that time: sedajeh ashena ("Familiar Voices") produced by Persian women, Radio Dersim, produced by Kurds in Vienna and a programme by women from Latin America. All of these concentrate mainly on their situation as migrants in Austria.

In Radio Dreyeckland in preparation for the 21st of March a special editorial group was formed, in which members from other editorial groups - many of them from the In anderen Sprachen (In other languages) group - participated in the planning. This team produced the feature Herzlich willkommen - a short travel guide to Germany for European Channel of Radio VSF. Besides this Polyphonia attempted to engage as many independent radio stations of the approxiamte 50 in Germany as possible: by exchanging broadcasts, with live transmissions on the 21st of March and by participating in the international programme of Radio VSF. On 21st of March at Radio Dreyeckland international teams made up of members of various editorial groups moderated a 24-hour special programme. This was broadcast in many different languages, with own contributions, studio discussions, live transmissions via Radio VSF. By these activities, new groups got involved who previously had no contact with the the radio. The experience of broadcasting in groups made up of people from different backgrounds and editorial groups was exciting for all involved and most were of the opinion that this should happen more often.

Radio Contrabanda, in preparation for March 21st, decided to focus on building a network between independent radio stations and the movements and projects of migrants in Spain. This decision was preceded by a survey of current connections and cooperative endeavors, which was accomplished by direct inquiries of independent radio stations in Spain. The results of this survey showed how shockingly little representation migrants had in independent media, especially women. For this reason a large part of the preparation activities was dedicated to strengthening existing contacts as well as connecting these with other radio stations. Against the backdrop of current events in Spain one of the main thrusts was to establish contact to the movement Sin papeles (Without Papers) in order to give them the chance to report - from their point of view - about their protests and their struggle. On March 21st various programmes revolving around this subject were broadcast throughout the day. In Spain and especially in Barcelona the struggle of many migrants, who had sought refuge in churches and some of whom who had started a hunger strike, was reported directly from there. The coverage of these events had a strong impact upon the activities and broadcasts of Radio Contrabanda, which is documented by interviews with the migrant women, news reports of civil disobedience directed towards anti-foreigner laws and in discussion panels. We, of course, participated in the live transmission of the Radio VSF programme as well.

Radio Ondarossa's focus during the preparation time leading up to March 21st was to get as many people in the radio station itself as possible involved in the special events of that day. Besides this Radio Ondarossa invited groups and organisations, who up until this time had had little contact with the radio, to come and actively participate. At the very first meeting in January it became clear, that many groups had no contact to Radio Ondarossa and that most groups did not know about the other groups nor their work against discrimination. For this reason Radio Ondarossa and Polyphonia will be attempting to report on discrimination from the point-of-view of those affected by discrimination and to provide information about active groups in order to promote contact among the various organisations. And its goal is not to report about discrimination, but rather to have those affected by discrimination get up to the microphone speak for themselves. That is only possible by direct cooperation with such groups; contacts which could be expanded to other independent radio stations in Italy. This is exactly what was tried on the 21st of March. There were various programmes which were produced by migrants. An on-air debate about the social and political situation of refugees in Italy was especially interesting. In this debate there were representatives of the Columbian and Sri Lankan communities, active members of the movement against refugee camps in Italy and representatives of a self-help organisation which work for the rights of refugees from the view of basic human rights. Radio VSF transmitted an hour of this debate live, using the internet possibility of live-streaming - a technical first for Radio Ondarossa, which then made this broadcast accessible for other independent radio stations in Italy.


Christopher Street Day - Gay Pride 2001

For a total of three hours the airways between Rome, Vienna and Freiburg were crackling on Gay Pride in the year 2001: Radio Dreyeckland, Orange 94.0 and Radio Ondarossa were connected with one another for the first time in their communal history via live stream. Between the hours 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. all three radio stations broadcast the same program, which dealt with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual aspects in each of those countries.

This adventure in communal broadcasting, which was available in English, Italian and German, also brought some difficulties to light: Radio Contrabanda in Barcelona was not able to live-stream its contribution to Gay Pride because of technical problems. An attempt to call one another during the broadcast was another area of complications that had not been anticipated: a conference call between Rome, Vienna and Freiburg could not be completed as planned because of an echo in the live-stream that literally filled the airwaves.

It was not in the infinite space of the airwaves though, but at Gay Pride 2001 itself, that it became clear that lesbian, gay men, transsexuals and bisexuals have not lost any energy in the struggle against discrimination. On the 29th of June people from all over Italy came to Rome to celebrate Gay Pride. Radio Ondarossa was on the scene and spoke to representatives of the queer community, where not only the situation of people who are discriminated against because of their sexual orientation were discussed but also the situation in general of the queer movements in Italy and in Europe was touched upon. Even before Gay Pride 2001 Radio Ondarossa had already several events and broadcast some programs dealing with the subject of Anti-Discrimination. One of the highlights here was a two-hour live studio discussion with Silvia Rivera. Silvia Rivera is one of the activists who was involved in the protests surrounding Stonewall Inn in 1969. This program was broadcast by other community radios (in Italy). Another event that elicited great interest was a workshop dealing with transsexuality. A representative of the transgender community spoke about difficulties and problems associated with a sex change operation twice during this.

Transsexuality was also a subject at Radio Dreyeckland. Participants at the "Lesbenfrühlingstreffen" (Lesbians Meet in Spring), which had taken place in Rostock a few weeks before Gay Pride, discussed interaction with transsexual men and women in the lesbian community in a live studio debate. Another important focus at Radio Dreyeckland was the question of political significance of Gay Pride. Asking the question "Is Gay Pride more than just a big party nowadays?", a group of gay men discussed the reasons why fewer and fewer gays engage in political work against stigmatization and discrimination. Other programs dealt with Jewish gays and lesbians, with racism and anti-semitism in the gay rights movement and with the double discrimination faced by those both homosexual and handicapped. A live broadcast from the lesbian and gay street festival in Freiburg in August rounded off the activities in summer.

Double discrimination was once again the topic of a conference; this one organized by Radio Contrabanda on the 28th of June. This time the focus was on the double discrimination that comes with being a woman and a lesbian. A whole day long various groups of lesbians from Barcelona discussed strategies in the struggle against the daily discrimination faced by lesbians, especially the different kinds of strategies used by the various groups in their confrontation with conceptions of what is "normal". Other topics were the diverse forms of discrimination that lesbians and gays face and possible strategies of dealing with this in the public sphere. Theoretical considerations of discrimination were however not the only objects of discussion during this "day of action" at Contrabanda. Gay Pride itself was a topic: listeners of Contrabanda heard the day before this lesbian and gay event what was planned for other cities like Madrid, Zaragoza, Bilbao and Valencia.

At Orange 94.0 it got really hot: "Heat Waves in Community Radios of Austria" was the motto of six days of broadcasting in connection with Europride which was hosted by Vienna in 2001. The program - called "queerattack.oag" - offered an interview with Drag King Dianne Torr, a lesbian and gay top 20 play list and many other contributions which dealt with people faced with discrimination due to sexual orientation. The main thrust of this was to contrast common prejudices against gays and lesbians with various inner and outer perspectives (of gays and lesbians themselves). In collaboration with the community radios of Graz, "Helsinki", and of Linz, "FRO", a mixed program with help for those just coming out, information about activities connected to Europride in Vienna, a "lesbian collage", a lesbian city tour and much more. Producers at "FRO", "Helsinki" and Orange 94.0 integrated the topic of sexual discrimination into their programming, combining it with the topic areas that they usually handle. On the one hand there were those who felt discriminated against because of their sexual orientation and/or those who usually dealt with discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals in their regular programs. On the other hand there were those who made Europride 2001 (and Gay Pride Month) the occasion for special programs. Aside from collaboration with "Helsinki" and "FRO" there was also a lively exchange of programs between Orange 94.0 and other community radios on national and international levels. Thus programs like "Dyke-Time" from Graz and various broadcasts from Radio Lora in Zurich or from Community Radio in Stuttgart could be heard in Vienna from the 25th to the 30th of June.

There was also a lot of cooperation and collaboration with radio stations not belonging to the group of Polyphonia project partners.
Within individual radio stations various production teams, who in day-to-day life normally had nothing or little to do with one another, also worked together to produce programs and organize events.
This "day of action", organized by Polyphonia, was a success essentially because of the cooperation of various groups, organizations and individuals who are engaged in the struggle against sexual discrimination.


Dismantling Barriers: Handicapped people in community radios

People with handicaps play far too small a role in community radios - whether they themselves be radio producers or whether it is a topic in the broadcasts. At the same time community radios could be an important forum for people who daily have to face discrimination and exclusion. The Polyphonia Project has taken it upon itself to change this situation. Together with organizations of handicapped persons and handicapped individuals working in radio stations, Polyphonia has worked out suggestions and discussed options for giving handicapped persons more space in community radios. It became clear during this time that barriers and obstacles need to be dismantled not only in individual radio stations or productions teams but in the media in general.

Using Polyphonia's suggestions as a stimulus Radio Handicap - a program at "Rundfunk Meißner" in Hessen, Germany - organized the first "Forum for people with handicaps (working) in the media" in October 2001. A total of 15 associations and media groups took part at this forum held at the Reha-Klinik (a clinic) in Lichtenau. Many ideas and suggestions for creating collective approaches to both the media and handicapped persons came out of this meeting. It was thus decided that journalistic and media competence among handicapped persons should be directly encouraged by way of continuing education (courses). This plan was brought up and discussed at the "Tagung der Aus- und FortbilderInnen der freien Radios" ("Conference of Teachers of Continuing Education at Community Radios") in Germany at the beginning of 2002.

On the 3rd of December, the so-called "World Day of the Handicapped", Radio Contrabanda, Radio Ondarossa, Orange 94.0 and Radio Dreyeckland had their third collective broadcasting day. This "day of action" was to be the first real highlight of long-term discussions of and dealings with the topic of "being handicapped". At the same time it was also an important stimulus for others working in radio, as well as for organizations and individuals, who were interested in getting involved with the fight against discrimination due to handicaps. Indeed - at the Polyphonia conference in Freiburg in April of 2001 it had become clear how important a continuous collaboration among individual handicapped production teams at community radios actually was. Radio Handicap of Hessen took up the idea of building a network of production teams and began to actively work on an exchange of programming. Polyphonia project partners as well as other community radios in Europe now use the offer of programs coming from these handicapped production teams.

The "day of action" on the 3rd of December was organized differently by the different project partners. Radio Dreyeckland in Freiburg broadcast a twelve-hour program in which the visible and the invisible barriers faced daily by people with handicaps was the focus. Among other things there was a radio excerpt from the conference "Freedom of Thought" held in the summer of 2001. At this conference people with psychiatric experience gave report on "Human Rights in Psychiatric Institutions". In a studio debate representatives of self-help groups in Freiburg discussed difficulties and progress in the fight for a barrier-free city. Besides this there was also a documentary report of the Hamburg band "Station 17"; a band in which not only handicapped persons play, but also those handicapped by being "normal". Last but not least was the important fact that at Radio Dreyeckland a new broadcast slot was created for this topic and a new production team came together for it after this "day of action".

Not just one day of special broadcasting, but an entire month of broadcasting was devoted to the topic "Media and the Handicapped" at Orange 94.0 in Vienna. This radio station hosted several round-table discussions in which two main topic areas were the focus. On the one hand there were discussions about how the topic of "disability" is handled and presented in the media generally as well as which strategies could be developed to combat such images and clichés. The other area of discussion was about how access to and participation in the media for handicapped persons could be made easier. One important aspect of this was about what concrete options and means community radios already have or would need in order to acheive this goal. Via these "round-tables" new contacts and plans for collaboration among various organizations for the handicapped were made. As a result of these contacts a series of radio programs named "Media and the Handicapped" was created and broadcast in December. A series of radio plays by mentally retarded persons is in preparation. Beyond this a cooperative effort with the Austrian Ministry of Social Works came about by way of the public discussion around the subject of "disability in the media". Orange 94.0 has been recommended to create the radio presentation of a sensitivity campaign initiated by "Behindertenmilliarde" (roughly: "A Billion for the Handicapped").

Radio Contrabanda in Barcelona concerned itself on this Polyphonia special day of broadcasting with the situation of women with handicaps. The phenomenon of double and multiple discrimination in a sexist, homophobic, racist and handicapped-insensitive society, with which handicapped women are confronted, was the main area of interest for women involved with the medium radio. An interesting and controversial discussion grew up around the subject of "sexuality". That handicapped women are often thought of as "asexual" was seen as yet another form of discrimination and was criticized accordingly. Radio Contrabanda maintained telephone contact to other community radios and organizations of the handicapped in Spain and was thus able to report on related activities and discussions going on in other cities.

Radio Ondarossa, too, sought direct contact with active groups of or groups dealing with the handicapped in order to plan and carry out their special day of broadcasting. In preparation for this day Radio Ondarossa participated in several action groups. Using a "Mobile Broadcasting Combinat" the radio station visited events and festivities, accompanied groups to meetings at schools or while handing out flyers, and visited these groups in their own offices. Part of the programming was done by radio journalists at Radio Ondarossa and partly it was done by temporary production teams made up of people with handicaps themselves, in which they prepared programs in their own language and according to their own way of expressing themselves. At the end of these activities many of the participants of the same came to the studios of Orange 94.0 on the 3rd of December where much of what had been collected and recorded by the mobile team was broadcast during the length of a whole day. In live discussions and interviews, those directly affected by these topics - handicapped persons and those who look after them - demanded free assistance, criticized the Italian social law and the law of equality, and spoke of problems they had at work.

On this "World Day of the Handicapped" Radio Ondarossa, Radio Contrabanda, Orange 94.0 and Radio Dreyeckland were able to sensitize not only listeners but also those working in the medium of radio to the topic of discrimination due to disability. The project partners of Polyphonia networked with other community radios, organizations of the handicapped and with individuals in order to create a foundation for future collaboration and cooperation in the fight against discrimination and exclusion. As on other "days of action" this Polyphonia special event in the year 2001 lead to an heightened exchange of programming among various European community radios as well as among individual handicapped production teams. The result of all this networking and cooperation was an exciting, informative and confrontive day of broadcasting. Besides this plans for new projects were made and if all goes well will be put into action in the beginning of this year.